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International Truck and Engine's MaxxForce engines are ideal for severe-service vehicles. Photo: International Truck and Engine

Nothing makes me happier than watching a new truck impact the market. Two new chassis from American LaFrance, made specifically for work trucks, have been going strong since their January debut.

The Condor 880s class 8 and the Condor 780s class 7 are suited for heavy-duty applications where a work crew will also be going to the job.

The 880s features a Cummins ISC base engine, but can be equipped with the Cummins ISM or Caterpillar C-13, with up to 430 hp and 1,550 foot-pounds of torque. The ISC provides improved fuel economy in municipal applications where high torque or horsepower isn't needed. Allison transmissions are standard. Four-axle versions are available.

The cab-forward design allows easy entry and exit. The low-cut door glass and low windshield provide excellent visibility. The Condor is roomy, with a work platform on the engine cover large enough for four people to dine.

The class 7 Condor 780s has a Cummins ISB 6.7-liter diesel base engine, rated at 200 hp and 520 foot-pounds. Optional ratings are available to 260 hp/620 foot-pounds. Both chassis are designed to accept and cool EPA 2010 engines.

WIDE-BASE RADIALS

Bridgestone's L315 wide-base radial provides aggressive traction, rugged on/off highway construction, and high flotation. Unlike Super Singles—Goodyear's oversized high-flotation tire—wide-base radials have a double-wide footprint with a rolling radius similar to the duals they are designed to replace.

Wide-base tires offer outstanding traction, improved ride, and better fuel economy. They have only two sidewalls to flex instead of the four on dual tires. Sidewall flexing is a major part of the rolling resistance that consumes energy. It also affects ride quality.

The L315 has an “L” load rating, allowing each tire to carry 12,300 pounds at 120-psi inflation. It has a 30/32-inch tread, while its tough tread compound resists cuts, chips, tears, and irregular wear. The tire operates at sustained speeds to 65 mph.

ENGINE MEETS EMISSIONS RULES

The DD15 from Detroit Diesel, part of Daimler Trucks North America, sports a 14.8-liter, inline 6 designed for current EPA emissions rules and beyond.

Replacing the popular Series 60, it comes in power ratings from 455 hp to 560 hp. Torque ranges from 1,550 to 1,850 foot-pounds. Maintenance intervals for severe-duty service are 25,000 miles or comparable hours for oil and filter changes. Peak torque is achieved at 1,100 rpm, with a virtually flat torque curve from 1,000 to 1,500 rpm.